FromTheMurkyDepths

Housing and Development in London

Greenwich

Ikea announce details of forthcoming Greenwich store

Ikea have announced some details planned for their Greenwich branch which replaces the ‘eco’ Sainsburys built around the Millenium. A planning application is expected next month.

The fact it’s located in a heavily polluted and congested location as well as the environmentally pioneering building it replaced means Ikea are going big on its green credentials. They talk of a “bio-diverse” roof and collecting rainwater as well as solar panels. Most of which the old building did, which was quite groundbreaking for its time. A lot of this sounds standard stuff these days. So will it be enough?

Traffic and congestion

ikea-site

It’s pretty evident that the Blackwall Tunnel is beyond capacity. This will only add to it. An enquiry is going on at the moment about a new Silvertown Tunnel. 853 blog has a great write up here. If approved that will funnel more traffic towards the same approach roads as already exist, and issues of more traffic coming south from Bexley, Kent and Bromley to visit Ikea will increase traffic.

Ikea talk about the number of bus routes but lets not kid ourselves – how many will take flat pack furniture home by buses (and those the Peninsula are already busy before 20,000 additional homes are built, as seen here, as part of developer Knight Dragon’s masterplan alongside other developments)?

TfL have seen £1 billion cut from their budget by the Department for Transport until 2020 so many additional buses isn’t too likely. This despite an expected 500,000 more people living in London from 2015 to 2020. Current growth looked like this:

rbg-population-growth

But back to this store, and I don’t want to appear anti-Ikea. I’ve used them a lot over the years. I think I bought my first ever Kopperberg in there way back before it took off. I like their stores and their products. I just don’t see this format in this location being ideal, and not with the mitigation measures announced so far.

Measures to allow people to order in store and then Ikea delivering from warehouses elsewhere at a lower cost than the current very expensive online delivery costs would help. That way people could arrive by public transport, browse and order, and then it be delivered at a lower cost than online which could help dissuade arrival by car or van to take the products home.

Housing

Another issue which I often raise, particularly in this area, is that the big-box retail shed format is completely inappropriate for inner London. The table above shows the population in London rose by 532k in five years. Housing is of course in very short supply. To use inner-city brownfield land solely for a big box without any residential component in 2016 is madness.

And then there’s other local plans which’ll increase congestion. The Cruise Terminal plan will see thousands disembark ships at certain times, with long queues of coaches planned to then take tourists to central London. That’s a lot of coaches waiting and moving through from the Peninsula to the town centre.

And then piecemeal expansion of other retail sites in Greenwich and Charlton such as Brocklebank Retail park opening within months including Aldi, Primark, Mothercare and Next, and hundreds of car parking spaces. Big box retail with no residential element whatsoever.

Oh yeah, and I almost forgot about the huge school now under construction on Greenwich Peninsula. St Mary Magdalene will have 1646 pupils and 200 staff. It’s a nursery, primary, secondary and sixth form establishment. Like it or not, many parents will drive and drop their children off exacerbating traffic pressure. Those that don’t will take the bus – that Ikea customers are going to use?

We’ll have to wait and see exactly what next month’s Ikea application includes. They have trialled different store formats in other places – Hamburg in Germany and Birmingham in the UK, so have been open to tweak formats to suit locations.

Most people will be looking forward to their very cheap breakfasts and food they provide; the meatballs in the cafe and ridiculously cheap hot dogs by the check-outs alongside picking up furniture which looks good and doesn’t cost the earth. Me too, to be honest. But there has to be a comprehensive plan in Greenwich for how to mitigate traffic and cope with the increase in population. There doesn’t seem to be anything adequate so far.

 

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7 Comments

  1. Did you go to one of the meetings?? I am not in the smallest way pro-IKEA – hateful shops which I won’t use – and which shouldn’t be in Greenwich – but there were several issues raised which you could have mentioned here – so I assume you didn’t go?
    Traffic was of course the main thing raised – and they dodged out of that. But there were other things raised which would make a difference – note that I said ‘make a difference’ not ‘make it better’.
    and – because I guess we all stuck with it,. and I know many people think it is a wonderful asset – wouldn’t it be good to look at way in which local people and their ideas can be used to make a real difference and also make it better

    • Assumptions there Mary 🙂 I fully agree with the point that IKEA coming is very popular so it needs a deft touch. Local involvement would be great – RBG lack the structure s like Lewisham, for example, to hold monthly ward meetings where suggestions are taken on board meaningfully. But still, much could and can be done. RBG Dept’s are reticent to do so. Dated practices abound.

  2. Traffic is a huge problem. It’s such bigger question that just the impact of IKEA.

    The whole of the A206 is a disaster, and it’s impact on Greenwich as a whole is at this stage a cancer. It needs serious consideration on how we can transform that artery to enable safe and pleasant walking and safe and pleasant cycling – where alternatives to taking a car become a default choice.

    The council appear to have given up on having any meaningful relationship with TFL or influence on the A206 – they wash and absolve any responsibility for improving the A206 or Trafalgar Road stating it’s under TFL control. In the meanwhile they play around with minor amendments to back streets and CPZs.

    You’re correct in highlighting again the lack of vision in building mixed use – how can it not be financially viable to drop 120 flats over the top of an IKEA box. While everyone rants on the Tesco development in Woolwich Town Centre it’s a legitimate massive addition to the pool of modern warm clean bright housing with a good vista, which reduces housing costs for all by adding to supply. I don’t know where to point the blame here – does council even have the ability influence planning in this way?

    • Quick response and will a more later but yes they do. They adopted a master plan in 2012 stating retail only and not mixed use

    • And yep they always jump on the line that its TfL responsibility. In some cases its not, and in those where it is TfL changes seen elsewhere havnt occurred as RBG have used their powers on TfL trunk routes to retain pro-car policies

  3. Murky Depths – the Council had ward based meetings until about 2008 when they were cancelled in favour of events which were partly designed to get input from people who wouldn’t go to meetings but did want their voices heard. They are gradually returning to local meetings – was at one two nights ago. One of the presentations was about reducing car use in east Greenwich – and I did ask how this was being publicised.

  4. Render

    I haven’t seen the cruise terminal plans, is the idea that the tourists will disembark at Enderby and then trek to the Peninsula to catch a coach? Just about ok in good weather I guess.

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